Interim profile, incomplete information
Taxonomic name: Alpinia zerumbet (Pers.) Burtt & R.M. Sm.
Synonyms: Alpinia nutans (L.) Roscoe, Alpinia speciosa (Wendl.) K. Schum., Catimbium speciosum (Wendl.) Holttum, Languas speciosa (Wendl.) Merr., Zerumbet speciosum J. C. Wendl.
Common names: kaopu‘i (Cook Islands), kaopui (Cook Islands), Kopi ‘enua (Cook Islands), light galangal, pink porcelain-lily, shell flower, shell-ginger, teuila (Samoan), teuila (Tongan)
Organism type: herb
Alpinia zerumbet is a lush, coarse-textured, clumping evergreen planted for its heavy rosette of arching stems and green leaves arising from a large loose center. A. zerumbet forms dense thickets in suitable habitats, for example on stream banks and shady slopes. It produces as many as a 1000 seeds per square foot. Seeds have fleshy appendages and are bird dispersed; they may be carried by water when it grows near streams. It also reproduces by rhizome division.
natural forests, riparian zones, wetlands
Alpinia zerumbet is a succulent plant of typically wet environment. It occurs in the mist region on Green Mountain National Park, on Ascension Island from 660 to 850 m (Gray et al, 2005). Green Mountain is the highest point on Ascension at 859 metres (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2010).
Alpinia zerumbet forms dense thickets in suitable habitats, for example on stream banks and shady slopes (PIER, 2008).
Ornamental; used as a medicine
Native range: Tropical and temperate Asia (USDA-ARS, 2010)
Known introduced range: widely cultivated in the tropics (USDA-ARS, 2010)
Introduction pathways to new locations
For ornamental purposes: Ornamental
Natural dispersal: A. zerumbet reproduces and spreads by rhizome division.
Local dispersal methods
Consumption/excretion: Seeds are dispersed by birds (PIER, 2008)
Water currents: Seeds can also dispersed by water when A. zerumbet grows near streams
Preventative measures: A Risk Assessment for Alpinia zerumbet prepared for Hawaii resulted in a high score of 10, with the recommendation to "reject the plant for import (Australia) or species likely to be of high risk (Pacific)" (PIER, 2008).
Alpinia zerumbet reproduces by rhizome division. It also produces seeds, as many as 1000 seeds per square foot (PIER, 2008)
Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
Last Modified: Tuesday, 8 June 2010